A WESTERN Sydney (Musel-) man who died fighting with
rebels al Qaeda in Syria has been revealed to be an Australian soldier who went absent without leave more than three years ago.
The rogue combat engineer is the first soldier from a western country to have been killed in the Syrian civil war.
He died while fighting for the extremist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant against more moderate rebels.
The young sapper joined the Australian Defence Force in February 2009.
He had received basic training but, contrary to reports last night, had gained no specialised skills that would have benefited him in combat in Syria. (Simon Benson)
He spent one and a half years in the army before going AWOL from his Brisbane barracks in late 2010.
Mr Temel was unable to be located by the ADF. As is normal practice with soldiers who go AWOL, he was discharged after 28 days and ceased to be a serving soldier.
“He has been out of the system for quite some time,” a senior Defence source confirmed to The Daily Telegraph.
Mr Temel, who was based in a unit from Enogerra Barracks in Brisbane’s north, was not a highly-trained soldier and had received only minimal training.
The case is believed to have been raised at a meeting of the Prime Minister’s National Security Council late yesterday.
ASIO has become increasingly troubled by the number of Australians who have travelled or have sought to travel to Syria as freedom fighters – a criminal offence in Australia.
Intelligence officials fear a new wave of local radicalisation due to the conflict and the infiltration of the rebel forces by jihadist and terrorist groups.
Mr Temel’s death came days after the killing of Sydney (Musel-)man Yusuf Ali and his wife Amira near Aleppo. It was reported they were killed during fighting between rebel factions.
Last September, a Melbourne
man Muslim became the first Australian to die as a suicide bomber in Syria after blowing himself up at a checkpoint.
Hot zone … a number of Australians have been killed in Syria while supplying aid or fighting for factions within the rebel movement.Â Source:Â AFP